Problems in Preventing the Marketing of Raw Meat and Poultry Containing Potentially Harmful Residues

HRD-79-10: Published: Apr 17, 1979. Publicly Released: Apr 17, 1979.

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Federal efforts to protect consumers from illegal and potentially harmful residues of animal drugs, pesticides, and environmental contaminants in raw meat and poultry have not been effective. It is estimated that 14 percent by dressed weight of the meat and poultry sampled by the Department of Agriculture (USDA) between 1974 and 1976 contained illegal substances. Residues of many of these substances have been found in raw meat and poultry, often at levels exceeding established tolerances. The Food and Drug Administration, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and USDA share responsibility for making sure that only safe levels of drugs, pesticides, and environmental contaminants are present in raw meat and poultry.

Efforts by the three agencies to protect consumers from illegal and potentially harmful residues have not been effective. The extent to which the public is exposed to illegal residues has not been accurately estimated. Meat and poultry from violative animals is generally marketed before violation is discovered and cannot be recalled. Actions taken to prevent future shipments of residue-contaminated meat and poultry have been inadequate.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: Congress should amend: the Federal Meat Inspection Act and the Poultry Products Inspection Act to authorize USDA to quarantine animals from a violative grower and require growers to place an identification tag on animals before they are marketed; the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to make misuse of an animal drug illegal and to authorize the use of civil penalites for residue violations; and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act to better enable the EPA to identify the possible misuse of pesticides.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Agriculture and of Health, Education, and Welfare and the Administrator of EPA should improve their programs for preventing the marketing of raw meat and poultry containing illegal residues.

    Agency Affected:

 

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